Tag Archives: Ehud Barak

Camp Victory II: Netanyahu Agenda Faces Unfriendly American President (100 Days – FP Analysis)

100 Days of Netanyahu Foreign Policy

Continuing my look at Netanyahu’s first 100 days,
here is my take on issues pertaining to Foreign Policy.

In Israel, we are mostly a one issue nation these days – Iran’s nuclear program and the greater Middle East. This is where the stakes are high, and this is where we must achieve victories both large & small. This is also where Netanyahu will either sail or stall as failure in these international issues will be the end. Accordingly I measure my analysis on these factors.

Thanks to the Obama administration the agenda until now has seemingly been all settlements, all the time. President Obama has taken a one sided view on issues pertaining to Israel, consensus on both the right & left including international opinion is that the pressure & onus is nearly entirely on Israel. It is apparent Obama has embraced the big lie, ‘Israel is the obstacle to peace’.

Of course, the big lie as they most often usually do disregards all reality. Including the numerous rejections of peace offers initiated by Israel to the Palestinians consisting of nearly everything they could ever dream of for themselves save one thing – The destruction of Israel. Instead, we see an emboldened Palestinians whom are simply demanding more because contrary to the President’s statements that he has pressured both sides equally, the Palestinians are clearly overjoyed with Obama’s slap Israel around positions and feel they have the ‘upper hand’ thanks to Obama, as stated by Saeb Erekat himself.

Analyze This

Netanyahu has been moving deftly despite the treacherous terrain outlined above. I think it is clear Obama over played the card. Making settlements the Mecca of peace processing was an absurdly idiotic idea – For one it is not true, but more importantly these concessions & weakness to one sided Arab demands for more & more have won America nothing, no concessions only rejection and certainly no mythical Muslim world love. The Peace process itself has not been advanced, it has been retarded in fact.

Yoel Marcus the liberal commenter at Haaretz has himself never seen anything like Obama’s one sided pressures, and praises Netanyahu in his analysis of the 100 days. By contrast, in one of the most superficial go through the motions pieces referencing the 100 days I’ve seen, JPOST truly disappoints. In an article that spends more than 50% of its type-space talking about the 100 days of everyone on the planet save Netanyahu himself, JPOST tops things off with pretty uncharacteristically shoddy analysis.

A main critique is that Netanyahu waited too long to give his Peace policy speech. Instead of embracing the commonly held view in Israel that the speech was excellent, properly reflected & articulated Israelis views, challenged dangerous notions Obama had put forth in Cairo, and laid out strong policy & requirements Israel regards as necessary for peace.. Jpost nitpicks and the analysis consists of ‘the speech came too late’. Apparently someone is convinced I guess that the Americans would take a softer line if we had in essence pre-empted the President. Good luck with that, considering Obama is clearly an ideologue with views formed on these issues over decades, surrounded by questionable sources and filth like Jeremiah Wright.

JPOST Asleep!?

The next critique of Netanyahu is over his use of Ehud Barak as point man to American discussions over settlements instead of FM Lieberman, thus ‘marginalizing the FM’ according to the JPOST Editorial. I have heard this false positive mentioned elsewhere as well. Again, I was disappointed by the shoddy work truthfully. Instead of praising the Prime Minister for using the best tools for a decidedly difficult job involving navigating a minefield in a critical issue for Israel (US Support), JPOST goes with the go through the motions blah blah.

Lieberman himself incidentally took the position opposite JPOST’s analysis, humbly stating that DM Barak was probably the better choice tactically for Israel re: US settlement negotiations. As even a cursory glance at articles or photos show, Mitchel & Barak get along. If we are trying to bridge an already unfair rift with the US on settlements in order to squeeze even some small gains, why on earth would we send out our FM who would likely not be able to achieve this is the question we should be asking?

Lieberman would not get along with Mitchel, Mitchel would only increase his hostility and Israel would achieve nothing. It makes little sense, even the most basic negotiation class will tell you to establish some rapport in order to maximize gains. Lieberman doesn’t need ego boosts, his party is on the rise, he is committed to Israel, seeks what is best in his belief for Israel. As things stand we may still achieve little, but at least we have put in place someone to make our case in these matters whom is beloved by Clinton Democrats and the American left in general, as opposed to someone whom is reviled like sadly & unjustly both Netanyahu & Lieberman are.

Minimizing achievements

By glossing over on the whole analysis part JPOST becomes the entity actually marginalizing the FM Lieberman unfortunately. Avigdor has done good work, and Netanyahu deserves praise for marshaling Israel’s resources so effectively. Instead of sending the FM to the USA for settlement talk best served by Barak, he sent him to Russia, and to a cadre of former soviet block states all around Europe & Asia where damaged Israeli relations benefited tremendously from the Russian Lieberman. Israel scored points with usually cold aloof countries who could relate to Lieberman and his character in general. Far from being a detriment, Both Lieberman’s & Netanyahu’s actions have in true analysis been fairly effective for 100 days. A Prime Minister must be a good manager, thus far Netanyahu & his inner circle have impressed.

Compared to Livni or Olmert it is night & day. Livni herself was considered the worst manager at the Foreign Ministry ever, and Olmert well he ‘managed’ to nearly get thrown in Prison and ‘managed’ along with Livni to not decisively bring home Israeli victories which was fairly disastrous, all within their own first 100 days. Under Netanyahu we have made compromises, big ones. On policy overall, and on settlements. It behooves me why some would not want us to capitalize as much as humanely possible on these compromises to the best of our abilities & benefit? It appears as if this is precisely what Netanyahu has done. I don’t mean to harp endlessly on JPOST, I’m just surprised & disappointed by the usually excellent Jerusalem Post crew of Keinon, Hoffman, Katz & Horovitz who were weak on this overall.

Atomic Meat & Potatoes

While the American administration has kept the focus on settlements to serve its own needs & to cover its inadequacy regarding Iranian nuclear weapons, we have nonetheless managed to notch gains in Israel. Some of the credit goes to Netanyahu himself, but much of it belongs to the Iranians who have through their demonstrations exposed both the Iranian Regime as brutal despots hiding behind the shield of Islam, and the American President himself to be an international clown. Yes, Obama’s main foreign policy platform was his engagement policies and he has been proved to be a naive fool thus far judging by world events. America has no plan, and its Emperor no longer has any clothes.. Yet still the administration persists, unable to divorce itself of its false ideologies. It’s pitiful to watch from such a great nation as America.

No matter, that’s up to the Americans to fix if they so desire, for Israel the critical factor until now was to steer this disastrous American government as best as possible in light of these realities. Specifically by getting a timeline down for when engagement policies are evaluated for failure, and some actual concerted action to stem the Iranian nuclear drive can take place. Netanyahu made gains when he met with Obama in Washington, by getting the President to acknowledge that engagement wasn’t open ended.

Barack Obama talked about the end of the year for his evaluations then. Now that Iran has been killing its own people and shredding both its & Obama’s credibility at the same time, those timelines are growing ever more positive to Israeli schedules. With the G8 calling for tangible signs by the end of September and the next G8 meeting, Obama’s engagement follies now bear harsh scrutiny not only from Israel, but the bulk of Europe as well. So while Israel is up against a stacked American deck on a slate of issues, we are in this case as well chipping away. From open ended, morphing to the start of 2010, now we are looking at October 2009 on the most critical issue for Israel of all & this occurred within the 100 days. Hopefully some sanctions and actions will take place going forward, but the ball has advanced and it is thanks to Netanyahu in part.

I’ll take another 100 Days of this please..

In the face of serious adversity, Netanyahu’s government has had to make concessions. But in the overall picture we have held the line in Israel regarding important issues, rolled back some dangerous concessions put forth by Olmert & Livni already accepted by the world as defacto realities, and brought world timelines regarding Iran more in line with Israel’s. In the near term we may also be able to show who the real obstacles to peace really are, as crazy as it seems that we should require to endeavor at that in the 1st place. These are solid feats for 100 days thus far, and for Israel to build on.

The critique from the opposition is that Netanyahu is ‘Zig Zagging’. My close friend served in an engineering unit for the IDF tasked with dangerous mine work on the Northern border. If you ask him, and he’s clearly an expert he will tell you that to avoid a zig & zag when crossing a mine field will lead to very ugly results for everyone involved. It’s called being a good politician, it’s called strategy, it’s called good leadership, and to measure the situation Israel is facing with a hostile US government and World all around us, without analyzing these realities & Netanyahu’s efforts to task & deal with them is absurd.

Just as in my domestic analysis; Camp Victory I: Netanyahu Agenda Hitting On All Cylinders I can only conclude that the far left & far right in Israel are again pulling their hair out and spinning wheels. That’s good news for the other 70% of Israelis solidly in support of Netanyahu until now. It means he’s doing something right. By reading through my two posts on his first 100 days I hope you have a clearer picture of what that is.

(Note: I amalgamated two posts in this portion of my analysis on FP, the original and then I weaved a short later post in before publishing.. Hope it flows despite some length)

Letter to Nowhere: State Department Struggles to Cover Obama’s Waffle on Israel (Video)

Here in Israel everyone, including our government is pretty surprised that ‘Natural Growth’ has been chosen as such a conflict subject for the Obama administration. It is hard to understand why there is such obstinacy and these harsh demands, this natural growth policy has been in effect for decades in our major settlement blocks?

View a glimspe of Drudge this Morning. Is Obama turning his back on Israel?

View a glimpse of Drudge this Morning. Is Obama turning his back on Israel?

We intend to keep those blocks no matter what, Jerusalem is our capital no matter what. All irrespective of administrations, new peace initiatives, or even new fangled ‘appeasement efforts’. We have elected, now and previously governments with the implicit expectation that this reality persist as this is our national policy. Even the pliant Olmert / Livni peace process love fest was on record as fully opposed to such a freeze. Even the more dovish Labor leader Defense Minister Ehud Barak is in full agreement – THE MAN from TABA! The guy who Clinton got to nearly sell the whole farm while down in Washington, what more can Obama possibly want from us? Israeli policy has not changed, American policy has. Or seemingly, a desire to create an artificial conflict where non should exist has been put forth publicly by the Obama administration.

Letter from Bush

Before the Gaza withdrawals, we sought direct assurances regarding our major settlement blocks, Ariel Sharon got those assurances from President Bush in the form of letters. Further, earlier in the 2002 Bush White House speech 1st calling for a Palestinian State the President acknowledged realities and changes / facts on the ground. He acknowledged these settlement blocks and these realities yet Obama cannot? So far, Israel’s concerns in the matter seem to be ignored, and the Obama administration has made its pressure on Israel very public indeed. At the same time, few seem willing to comment directly on the US commitments to Israel regarding natural growth.

Does the White House support commitments made by Presidents on behalf of the United States of America or not?

 

James Rosen (in the audio) from Fox News follows up strongly – Twice!.. He seems to want an answer as well.

Powerless: Labor Party leader Ehud Barak has become fat & weak

Once mighty Labor humbled by two sad leaders in a row

The coalition talks to form a new government in Israel have been dragging for 25 days now, this week is supposed to be the last one available to Kadima to form a new government, barring any extraneous extensions (which Livni is already famous for).

For 48 hours now marathon night time talks have been held between Labor & Kadima to try and form their deal. For Livni, so far so unimpressive. She has secured only Meretz the radical left wing party, to her coalition as of yet. But an important for Livni Labor collapse is coming according to JPOST

[...] “Tonight’s the night,” Hanegbi had told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “If there is no agreement tonight, there won’t be a deal at all.” Hanegbi said it was possible that Livni and Barak would meet early Monday morning to finalize the agreement

According to a draft proposal submitted by Kadima to Labor on Sunday, Barak will not receive any of what he demanded when the coalition-building process began three weeks ago.

Barak will not receive nearly equal footing with Livni at the head of the government, he won’t head Israel’s negotiating team with Syria, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann will keep his position, and the framework of the 2009 state budget won’t be expanded.

Instead, Barak will be promoted from deputy prime minister to the new title of “senior deputy prime minister.” He will be involved in the negotiations with Damascus and will be able to prevent issues from being raised in the security cabinet. Labor will be able to prevent the advancement of Friedmann’s judicial reforms and a limited sum will be allocated to two of Labor’s pet causes, raising senior citizens’ benefits and lowering college tuition.

Nevertheless, Barak instructed the members of his coalition-negotiating team to reach a deal with Kadima on Sunday night before he leaves on Monday for a three-day vacation in the Galilee. [...]

Setting aside Livni’s wholly unimpressive coalition feats to date, Barak bests her handily in the pity department. This powerful man, head of the Defence Ministry is a shadow of his former self. Under him, Labor has abandoned much of its platform, seen its seat potential diminish slightly (if that is possible, with Labor already at historical lows in support) while the Kadima party itself has swung left & overtaken all of Labor’s positions displacing the party.

Big Talker

Barak made big noises trying to make it seem like he politically outplayed everyone this past year, forcing Olmert out. In reality he did no such thing and these were mostly his own delusions. Today, Less than 10% of Israel believes he should return to the PM chair, he’s a walking disaster. In the 10 years since he last occupied the post and was unceremoniously booted out for capitulating to nearly every one of the terrorist Arafat’s demands at Camp David II, Barak has become a multi-millionaire. His condo in Tel Aviv is on sale for some 40 Million shekels to add to his vast wealth, in short he has become complacent, fat & weak. A stark contrast to the might commando that is legendary in Israeli annals.

Mr Capitulation

  • On top of the capitulation to Clinton that drove him right from office, Barak has exhibited a number of signs pointing to weakness despite his outward bravado. Rumors swirl that Barak is set on disregarding an existential threat from Iran and is prepared to accept living with the Iranian nuclear weapons program, an opinion that is considered inside the Ministry he helms as a fringe minority one.
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  • Rumors also swirl that he was personally opposed to striking the Syrian nuclear reactor program facility last September which was carried out weeks after he assumed the Defense Ministry, meaning the mission, intelligence, planning, and operational requirements were all set well before he even arrived or got clearance. He took great credit for the success, but had almost no hand whatsoever in its accomplishment.
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  • In Gaza, despite tough talk for months on end by Barak, with weekly warnings that a huge Israeli invasion was near.. Not a single thing was done to stem the Hamas growing power and rocket arsenals in the terrorist governed territory. In Israeli media and the public it was clear to all Barak sought to negotiate with the Hamas on a cease fire, just like he sought to negotiate with the terrorist Arafat which ended in his own shame & failure, and caused the 2nd Intifada which cost Israel dearly in blood. Even now Barak acknowledges in the lull that Hamas will need to be toppled no matter what the future holds, yet he allows them to steadily smuggle and arm, and train & boobytrap Gaza which wil surely cost even more blood in the future.
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  • Israel itself has seen a number of successes of late in covert missions, alas these again are attributed to the Mossad and Meir Dagan. While Barak smiles with yet more bravado over this recent success to claim credit from the secret Mossad, as evidenced by his abysmal numbers no one is impressed.

Curtain Call

Now with news that not a single Barak demand has been realized in negotiations with kadima in the forthcoming coalition, while Barak heads off for yet more vacation time after the summer and endless holidays, I’m left wondering what exactly Barak brings to the table besides coalition spoiler? From deputy prime minister to the new title of “senior deputy prime minister”, this is like something you might see on an SNL skit. It’s a mockery.

It seems clear enough that as things stand Barak will not again be PM of Israel, Labor will not be a major player in any new government coalition beyond a few pitiful saving face measures, and Barak despite ample opportunity has chosen passivity in nearly every major security & critical issue facing the state during his tenure so far..

So the question remains. What is this enriched & fat, clearly weak man doing exactly, and when do we get to see his 2nd resignation as Labor party leader? Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy. I also love my cat Jerry, it doesn’t mean I think he should be the next Prime Minister of Israel.

Well soon see if Livni can laugh at Shas as well next week, and strip them of their own demands & prop up this sad example of corrupt democracy. Don’t hold out for any Barak comment however, he’s on vacation stuffing himself at the expense of the State of Israel.

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LINK UPDATES:
From the spin room – Labor lauds ‘dramatic achievement’
From the back room – Netanyahu urges Shas not to join Livni-led coalition
That above is Bibi’s 3rd meeting with the Shas head Rabbi Ovadia pleading with him to safeguard a united Jerusalem through democratic elections.. No ‘official’ response.